New Republican legislation in the House and Senate would force the U.S. government to reroute huge amounts of money to China and other creditors in the event that Congress fails to raise its debt ceiling.
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"I intend to introduce legislation that would require the Treasury to make interest payments on our debt its first priority in the event that the debt ceiling is not raised," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) wrote in a Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed.
If passed, Toomey's plan would require the government to cut large checks to foreign countries, and major financial institutions, before paying off its obligations to Social Security beneficiaries and other citizens owed money by the Treasury -- that is, if the U.S. hits its debt ceiling. Republican leaders insist they will raise the country's debt limit before this happens. But first, they're going to try to force Democrats to accept large spending cuts, using their control over the debt limit as leverage. That means gridlock, and the threat that they'll come up short.
That's where Toomey's idea supposedly comes in. And yet, according to the Treasury Department, his plan wouldn't actually avoid a default, or its catastrophic consequences.